Testosterone boosters are not a steroid. They are dietary supplements. They aim to elevate testosterone naturally using ingredients like herbs and vitamins. However, anabolic steroids are synthetic and often illegal.
For weightlifters, testosterone boosters can be a safer, legal option to enhance strength training performance, but their effectiveness varies by brand.
I researched the top ingredients of testosterone boosters at iHerb, which lists a supplement's nutritional facts more clearly than most other online retailers.
You won’t want to miss this full breakdown to save money on effective performance improvements, like high-quality testosterone boosters.
Read on to learn:
- Differences between testosterone boosters and steroids
- Effects on men and women
- Boosters vs Replacement Therapy
- How to naturally source testosterone
Table of Contents
Differences Between Testosterone Boosters vs Steroids
The differences between testosterone and steroids are:
- The potency of muscular growth
- Structure and composition
- Side effects
Testosterone boosters are natural supplements that increase the body's testosterone production. They often contain herbs, vitamins, minerals, and more.
When looking at the iHerb website, I found a top brand SIXSTAR Testosterone Boosters, that included a couple of key ingredients such as:
- 386 mg Rhodiola Extract Per Serving
- 100 mg Boron Citrate Per Serving
These two ingredients are natural sources of supplements that can help spike the natural secretion of testosterone. Research shows that Rhodiola Rosea has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can elevate your testosterone production. Other research shows that taking 6mg of Boron can improve free testosterone by 25%.
Other common ingredients in testosterone boosters are zinc, fenugreek, and Tribulus terrestris, which have similar effects.
However, testosterone boosters aren’t as potent as anabolic steroids. The structure of anabolic steroids is a synthetic variation of testosterone with a massive focus on building muscle.
But steroids have negative side effects like permanent liver damage, which is one reason they’re illegal in the United States through the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990.
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Are Testosterone Boosters Safe?
According to the National Library of Medicine, testosterone boosters can cause side effects that may pose health risks. The study highlights a case where a 30-year-old athlete experienced abdominal pain and liver injury from a commercial testosterone booster.
However, the evidence is considered weak, emphasizing the need for further research with larger samples to determine statistical significance. This study only examined one individual's response to testosterone boosters.
The fact they stem from natural herbs and vitamins means you’ll likely be okay, especially compared to anabolic steroids.
Plus, you can see thousands of positive reviews on iHerb for SIXSTAR Testosterone Boosters, which means the odds are low of you having an adverse reaction.
But here are some potential side effects from testosterone boosters:
- Gastrointestinal Issues
- Allergic Reactions
- Acne and Skin Issues
- Changes in Libido
- Cardiovascular Issues
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Are Testosterone Boosters Safe for Women?
Testosterone boosters can have the same side effects on women as men, according to the National Library of Medicine. But testosterone can also have the same benefits for women, including an increase in strength and muscle size, more energy and sex drive, and improved mood.
Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone inside men. However, women do produce testosterone, but only in small doses. When using a testosterone supplement, women could experience issues due to hormonal imbalances, which would cause a plethora of side effects.
The side effects of women using testosterone boosters are:
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Oily Skin
- Menstrual Irregularities
Testosterone Boosters vs Testosterone Therapy
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is a medical intervention that can elevate testosterone levels much higher than testosterone boosters.
According to Rejuve Health Clinics, the best candidate for TRT is someone experiencing symptoms of hypogonadism. This is a medical condition characterized by the impaired function of the gonads, resulting in low testosterone levels.
TRT is only available with a doctor’s prescription, unlike testosterone boosters.
Those who go through TRT aren’t solely concerned with muscle size and density. They are also concerned with all other characteristics that come with testosterone, such as facial hair, bone density, and reproduction.
Can You Significantly Increase Your Testosterone Naturally?
Testosterone boosters can naturally increase testosterone secretion and can work even better with lifestyle changes.
Here are a few ways to increase testosterone levels in the body naturally:
- Strength training
- HIIT training
- Adequate sleep
- High-protein foods like eggs, meats, and dairy products
- Staying hydrated
- Avoiding alcohol
Strength training is one of the top ways to increase testosterone levels. It’s important to consider compound movements, especially as they recruit more muscle groups simultaneously.
HIIT training provides an intense stimulus within training that would elevate testosterone levels. With all this training, it's important to get adequate rest to ensure you recover and keep your hormones balanced.
Foods high in protein also have a reputation for elevating testosterone levels. In particular, foods with high levels of protein. It’s been documented that high protein foods have increased levels of amino acids, l-carnitine, and l-arginine that assist with testosterone levels. While you ingest all this protein, you need to stay hydrated so as not to hurt hormone production.
Finally, avoid alcohol, as it converts testosterone to estrogen, so you’re more likely to retain water and gain fat.
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Does your body need testosterone?
Yes, your body needs testosterone, it’s a naturally occurring hormone that helps with vital functions such as muscle growth, reproduction, and energy production.
Is testosterone a steroid or hormone?
Testosterone is both a steroid and a hormone. Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and the main anabolic steroid naturally produced by the body. This hormone has steroid features.
Is testosterone a banned substance?
Testosterone is not a banned substance as it is a naturally occurring hormone in the body. However, synthetic testosterone is banned, such as anabolic steroids.
Is testosterone the same as steroids?
It depends on the context. Testosterone is a hormone and the body’s natural steroid. However, if you are asking if testosterone is the same as anabolic steroids, then no, they are different. Anabolic steroids are solely built to provide muscular growth, which is one of the features of the testosterone hormone.
Is testosterone booster safe for bodybuilding?
Testosterone boosters must be administered as indicated on the label for them to be safe. If used in excess, there could be side effects. Testosterone boosters have been researched and, even when administered safely, still have side effects.
Is it bad to take testosterone boosters at 30?
It is not bad, but it is not necessary to take testosterone boosters at 30. Males peak in testosterone between the ages of 20 and 30. However, males who lift can continue to have high levels of testosterone in their 30s to early 40s. For more info, please seek medical supervision through an appointment with your doctor.